Boeing Strike Ends At Long Beach Though St Louis Maybe Next


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Boeing Strike Ends At Long Beach Though St Louis Maybe Next

By Mike Mitchell

June 14, 2010 - Employees at the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft production plant in Long Beach, California have ended a walkout that began May 11th. The union, local UAW 148 approved a 58 month contract in a vote 822 yes to 544 no. Workers will return to work by Monday June 14th.

Assembly plant workers walked off their jobs on May 11 after labor talks stalled over medical and pension benefits. A National Mediation Board mediator last week called both sides back to the negotiating table, citing the potential harm the strike could inflict on the company.

The new contract will not provide an increase in pay for 2010 however, workers will receive a $4,000 lump sum payout and a 3% annual raise over the remaining years of the contract.


In addition, Boeing is increasing its pension contribution from $2 a month to $81 a month for every year of employee service. Employees will only be required to pay 13% of their medical costs in an HMO plan rather than the 15% contribution the company had sought.

The Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. The C-17 was developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The aircraft carries on the name of two previous United States military cargo aircraft, the C-74 Globemaster and the C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases throughout the world.

It has the ability to rapidly deploy a combat unit to a potential battle area and sustain it with on-going supplies. The C-17 is also capable of performing tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop missions. The C-17 is operated by the US Air Force, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, NATO, and Qatar, while the United Arab Emirates has placed orders.

Union leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represent workers at Boeing's St. Louis Defense plant, has advised its members to reject the company's most recent contract proposal and prepare for a strike.


The St. Louis plant produces the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force, EA-18G Growlers for the U.S. Navy, F-15 Strike Eagles for South Korea and Singapore. The plant also produces parts for the C-17 aircraft. 

Workers at the St. Louis plant on Sunday went to St. Charles Family Arena to voted on a new contract which was rejected. International Association of Machinists District 837 union members authorized a strike, but the earliest they could walk out is June 23. The contract is a four-and-a-half-year contract that will provide approximately $44,400 in additional compensation over the term of the agreement once it is approved by employees.

Boeing "We are disappointed the membership of IAM 837 has rejected our contract proposal and has decided to strike. The work we perform here in St. Louis is critically important to our country and the men and women of our armed services. The fair and equitable contract we put forward recognizes the contributions made by our union employees in terms of enhanced salary, benefits and pension."

The contract's pay and benefits package provides an average of 3.6 percent in annual wage increases, significant improvements in retirement benefits, and a comprehensive and affordable health-care program.

Key features of the contract offer to approximately 2,500 represented St. Louis-area employees include:

* $5,000 lump sum payment in year 1 of the agreement

* 3 percent general wage increases in years 2, 3, and 4, and an additional 3 percent in the remaining seven months of the contract

* Basic retirement benefit increased to $81/month per year of benefit service effective Sept. 1, 2010; a $11 (15.7 percent) improvement from $70 today

* Excellent health care benefits at a moderate cost to employees

* Current health care coverage and employee contributions continue through Dec. 31, 2013

* Continued company savings plan match of 50 percent of the first 6 percent contributed (increases match for employees hired after Dec. 31, 2004, from 50 percent of first $70/week to 50 percent of first 8 percent). Employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2012, will also receive a 4 percent automatic company contribution to their Voluntary Investment Plan, vested immediately, in lieu of participation in the Employee Retirement Income Plan ? Hourly East. 

"We have presented a contract agreement that addresses the current challenging defense budget environment and will help us continue to build a competitive business in St. Louis," said Steve Jacques, Boeing Defense, Space & Security vice president of Manufacturing and St. Louis lead for the negotiations.

"This is a quality contract that offers outstanding wages as well as competitive retirement, health care and other benefits. We encourage our employees to study the contract offer with their families as they prepare to vote on June 13."


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